I've been blogging about life with depression and borderline personality disorder for a little over a year now, but why am I doing this? Lots of people have mental health issues. Not so many feel the need to share it with the world. Let me try and explain what I'm getting from blogging, and why it's working so well for me.
For a long time, long before I ever started the blog, writing has been an outlet for me. I've kept a journal for years, and writing has often been the thing to get me through a rough patch. My therapist actually suggested about two years ago that I start a blog as writing was so therapeutic for me, although at the time I less than politely told her what I thought of that idea. As usual, she was right. It's hard to explain, but for me, this blog feels like the first thing I've done in the longest time, possibly ever, that was totally, completely and utterly for me. I didn't start it to please anyone else, or because someone told me I should (Therapist, wise lady that she is, never mentioned it again). I did it for me. I rarely do things for me. Before I started blogging, my evenings were a mess of anxiety, frustration, depression and nothing. I'd get the kids off to bed, and then I'd have no clue what to do with myself. I couldn't concentrate on reading, I didn't want to watch TV, I didn't want to walk, or practice yoga, or talk to my poor, long suffering Hubby. So I mostly sat and stared, which isn't the best way for anyone to pass time, never mind someone with depression.
But, since starting the blog, I have a focus, and one that's all my own. Yes, I have plenty of other areas in my life that require focus, and they get it. But this one is different. It allows me to order my thoughts, and make sense, or least try to, of what's going on for me. It allows me to reach other people who are going through the same thing, and both give and receive support. I realise that it's not always easy reading, or uplifting, but that was never the point. The blog is part diary, part insight into life with depression, warts and all. That means that sometimes I'll need to write things that people don't necessarily want to read, and that I won't always have a positive anecdote. It's kind of developing as I go - when I started I was feeling pretty good, so a lot of my writing was retrospective, or of a more general nature. But when things aren't great, the focus shifts onto day to day getting by. I think that's the beauty of blogging - I can make it whatever I want or need it to be.
Something else that's come of it, which I've mentioned a few times on my facebook page, is the wonderful contact I've had with people, both virtually and in person, as a result of it, and that's something that I never expected. To realise that something I've written could not only resonate with someone, but actually prompt them to contact me, or help them in their own situation - I can't put into words how good that makes me feel. And that in itself, never mind all of the above, is reason enough for doing it.
Every time I go back to check in with the hospital, they ask me what I'm doing that helps. I can put my hand on my heart and say that of everything - medication, therapy, exercise, diet, you name it - my blog has been the most significant change for me, and has had the most impact on me. I'm not ashamed of who I am any more, and that's huge. I'd give anything not to have to deal with depression and BPD, but I do, and I can't run away from that. So instead I'm facing it head on, and taking away its power by not hiding it, or hiding myself because of it.
My blog is my escape, my refuge.